Cotton Candy Quilt Block

If you’re a quilter like me, you may have as many quilt tops as you have completed quilts. I really need to try to finish my tops… including this one called a Cotton Candy Quilt which is made up of tiny pinwheels..

I still need to sew about eighteen more blocks to finish this and this project also got me thinking about a story from my youth about cotton candy which you can read further down in this post.

For now, let’s take a closer look at how to make this Cotton Candy Quilt Block.

pink and brown quilt fabric

For this color-scheme, you’ll need a variety of assorted brown, pink and white/off white fat quarters.  A fat quarter is equivalent to an 18 X 22-inch piece of fabric.

Even though this quilt pattern is called Cotton Candy this stack of fat quarters reminds me more of a big bowl of bubblegum with a little chocolate and vanilla tossed in.

Sounds delicious, doesn’t it.

NOTE: Continue scrolling to read my cotton candy story which is a little further down in this post.

quilt mini blocks

There are a lot of half square triangles that are needed to make this quilt pattern, and it can be pretty time consuming to create.

I’m going to show a short-cut.


I used something called Thangles which are strips of paper that include guide markings that you can use as a cutting guide and sewing guide.

They come in multiple and you choose the size you want based on the size of the finished square you want.

Thangle demo

OK, here’s how they work. Select two pieces of contrasting fabrics and layer them with right sides together.

Place the Thangle directly onto the fabric strips and pin.

Then, machine stitch along all the dotted lines, and cut along the solid line to create multiple half square triangles.

This would be very tedious if I had to cut each of these little squares individually.

small quilt blocks

After cutting the Thangle in half, you’ll end up with two of the half square triangles. Simply fold one corner back and press the steam with an iron.

Remove the Thangle paper and… Voila… you’ve got a finished square.

Depending on how you arrange the squares, you can create a range of designs.

quilt block arrangement

Since this quilt uses the pinwheel design, simply turn the squares to create that pattern.

It’s the combination of dozens of these pinwheel squares that sits at the heart of this quilt design.

Once you complete your half square triangles and pinwheel squares, arrange them to create the desired quilt block pattern.

quilt block layout

OK, now for my cotton candy story.

When I was about 11 years old, my twin sister, older brother, and a first cousin and I decided we wanted to make our own cotton candy at home.  We all searched the house for the needed supplies.

At the time my mom had this vintage metal cake cover with a round black handle screwed into the top.

We had the perfect base for our venture… but we needed the sweet ingredients

I don’t remember whose bright idea it was to use corn syrup but we all agreed.

So, we mixed up corn syrup, water, sugar and a few sugar and a few other ingredients.

We cooked the ingredients on the stove until it started to boil.

pinwheel quilt

Next, we needed a power source so my brother grabbed my dad’s power drill from a workbench and off we trotted to the basement with our supplies and hot mixture in hand to make our sweet treat.

We just knew our plan would work.  After all, we had seen the man at the carnival make it dozens of times.  I mean really, how hard could it be to make cotton candy, right?

We unscrewed the handle off the cake holder and my brother put the drill into the bottom of the cake pan and flipped the drill switch.

To our sheer delight the cake pan started revolving faster and faster.  Yay! We knew were on the right track.  Our invention would indeed work.

As my cousin and I stood there licking our lips and holding our little Popsicle sticks, my sister poured the hot mixture into the moving cake cover.

Oh, the anticipation.

quilt block comparison

What do you think happened?  Well, we certainly didn’t get any cotton candy that day.

What we did get were numerous droplet-sized burns from the hot, sticky mixture that went flying out of the pan at high speed hitting everyone and everything.

Trust me, even a droplet of corn syrup hurts when it’s hot. Did you know that hot corn syrup actually sticks to the skin?

I’m happy to report that everyone survived with no serious injuries.

We all had a few, tiny circular burns on various body parts but quite honestly are feelings were more hurt than anything else.

How disheartening that our fool-proof invention failed so miserably.

quilt pinwheel pattern

My mom never knew about our cotton candy venture until years later.  Needless to say, she was pretty horrified when she heard about our attempt.

Oh the things ingenious kids will do when parents are out of sight.

Anyway, for all these years, that youthful cotton candy-making experience has really stuck with me like… well, like hot corn syrup.

Trust me, from now on this is the only kind of cotton candy I will ever make.

cotton candy quilt graphic

Thanks for stopping by.

See  you back here next time. 




  • [email protected] Designs

    So funny!…Loved the story…but you all did not fail….you succeeded in the ingenuity of trying to make cotton candy!…What you all came up with is truly a well thought out plan using what you had in the house. Yes, the achievement of the goal did not happen, but the experience and the creativity far surpasses the end result. Obviously you have been the creative one since you were a child…and I bet your sister and older brother do too!….What a wonderful story and how great that you will have that memory whenever you look at the gorgeous quilt!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks so much, Shirley! I hadn’t thought of my cotton candy venture in that light before but I like your “glass-full” perspective-lol.
      Have a wonderful day.

  • Jeanne

    Lisa – Love your Thangle tutorial…I get it! I’ve made 6″ square quilts forever, but this was the inspiration to expand my repertoire…finally! Thanks.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      That’s wonderful to hear, Jeanne. I have soooo many quilt tops that need to be finished-lol
      Happy to share something you can use to make your quilting even easier.
      Have a wonderful week.

  • Jae

    Beautiful quilt top. Made me think of neopolitan ice cream……yum! Thanks for sharing such an ingenious way to simplify the cutting process. Glad nobody was badly hurt in the cotton candy escapade….sugar can make horrible burns.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks Jae, You know I hadn’t thought of Neopolitan ice cream but I totally agree. Now I want some strawberry, chocolate and vanilla ice cream-lol.

  • Sheila

    I love your quilt top! I love quilts and have a few family ones. I have never really tried making a quilt, but in Ky there are many ladies who work hard on the craft. My husband’s grandmother made one for each of her grandchildren…which added up to around ten I believe. My mother made quilts for my two children too. I appear to be the weak link in the family. Ha! I guess I should learn how to quilt. Paducah Ky is quite the quilt place I hear. As for kid’s experiments…I hate to think of what my own children did that I do not know about. They are alive and healthy, so, maybe what I don’t know at this point is ok. Ha! I don’t want to know now. Ha ha. Sheila

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Yes, Sheila.. Paducah is famous for quilts. I get a quilt fabric catalog in the mail called Hancock’s of Paducah and it’s filled with the most wonderful fabrics. I have to pace myself when I look through it.
      Your kids will let you in on things they did that you never knew about one day and it will blow you away-lol.
      Happy day!

  • cindy

    Oh god…I knew what was coming with that one! lol! I can just imagine that hot corn syrup too. Ouch! I’m glad everyone survived with no serious injuries!
    I love your quilt! All the colors look beautiful together! They are time consuming aren’t they? My mother started one of those rag-time quilts years ago, and still hasn’t finished it. I haven’t tried my hand at quilting yet, but I sure do want to make one someday:) Have a great day, Lisa!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks Cindy! Don’t you almost want to take a bite out of those colorful blocks?-lol
      By the way, one of the easiest quilts ever is called a Log Cabin. The blocks are super simple and the because of the design, the patterns you can create with the finished blocks are numerous.
      Look in my “Quilting” section and you’ll see several Log Cabins. If you decide to try it, let me know and I’ll point you to some additional quilting resources.
      Happy day to you too.

  • Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Hi Lisa!! Oh what patience you have. Your quilt is beautiful and your story is horrific!! My heavens if more of the sugary stuff would have gotten on your skin you could have been scared for life. I shutter to think. I started a quilt once . . . yep that’s as far as it got. I may still have a few of the blocks somewhere. I’m getting rid of a lot of my sewing supplies like pattern making paper/plastic but your Thangles are terrific! What a great idea. Will you show us some more of your quilts?? I’d love to see them. Have a happy day!!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks so much, Marisa. You know you can make pillow shams out of quilt blocks if you decide not to make a full quilt?
      If you go to my Handcrafted & Homemade section in my navigation bar, I have a Quilting category. I’ve posted quite a few of them over the years with a closer look at how to make the blocks too.
      You may get inspired to do something more with those blocks after all-lol.

  • Peggy

    What a beautiful quilt. I like the little short cut. I need all the help I can get in the quilting department. And I am smiling that your Mom did not find out until years later. My sisters and I have a story that still makes me laugh and our Mom was horrified when she found out about it at her 50th wedding anniversary. Kids!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks Peggy. Fun to know that I’m not the only one springing escapades on mom years later-lol
      If you ever need any help getting your quilting project off the ground, shoot me an email and I’ll try to help.

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